Crain's Chicago Business' 40 Under 40 list recognizing business people making their mark in the Chicago area with their innovative ideas and fresh perspectives recently included Chicago entrepreneur and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce member Melissa Ballate.
Ballate is the founder and president of Blue Daring, a business consulting company that provides a full suite of services including branding, design, ideas and strategy, product development, interactive marketing and sales, marketing, outreach, and presentations.
Ballate began her marketing career at the age of 19, working in advertising at online automobile classified advertising site Cars.com. She eventually became an account manager before moving on to work for General Motors and Mercedes-Benz.
At 23, she struck out on her own and created Blue Daring in Chicago's River West area. She has been working for several years to develop the business, which today generates in excess of $1 million annually.
Ballate is involved in a number of civic pursuits throughout the area as well, serving as a board member for Junior Achievement of Chicago and the Chicago Police Board.
Ballate is active in the Chicagoland Chamber and has partnered with other chamber members on various projects. Blue Daring and inQUEST, another chamber member business, currently are working on an interactive game called Contineo.
Blue Daring is also currently working with Toyota to get Social Innovation, a new social media platform for businesses, branded and off the ground.